Punching keystrokes quickly, her fingers fly effortlessly over the keyboard with precision and accuracy. Punctuating the last keystroke with a solid triumphant jab, Vanessa Tribalt watches the screen anxiously biting her lip, her bright eyes dance with anticipation and her leg jiggles impatiently along to the music in her headphones.
Movement catches her eye and she quickly looks up, her infectious smile beams and she waves them in. “Hey, great timing!” Venessa calls out over the music then blushes as the realization hits her. She pulls the headphones off her ears and is instantly assaulted by the quiet soft hum of her lab equipment. “Sorry,” Vanessa shrugs a shoulder grinning sheepishly at them.
Elissa grins and walks around the desk to see what she’s working on, “What did you bid on?”
“Nothing!” Vanessa taps a few keys before pointedly turning around and steering them to the counter and a different computer terminal. “Okay so it is just like you figured, the paint scrapings on the rail match the victim’s car, the skid marks are the right width of the tires and the bleed valve was intentionally removed to make it look like brake failure.”
Vanessa presses a few buttons and shows pictures of the surrounding area of the missing bleed valve, showing the stress marks and explains to Hector the difference in how a screw properly loosened would appear without the scraping that Peter Hamilton’s has when laughter erupts behind them. “Elissa!”
Elissa is sitting at Vanessa’s desk perusing her e-bay bids. “Hello kitty zombies, Nessa?”
Vanessa winces and laughs, “It’s not… okay it is but they call it Hello Zombie. Isn’t it just the cutest?”
Hector rolls his eyes and turns his attention back to the case while the two girls look over the items Vanessa has bid on and what she’s won. “Could this be simple negligence by the mechanic?”
“You’re kidding right? No way was that done by a mechanic, unless the mechanic is sloppy and does house calls.” Vanessa gives him a look of mock surprise, “If he wasn’t going down hill he wouldn’t even have gotten as far as he did. Whoever removed the bleed valve made sure air was getting to the master cylinder and fast. Not as fast as cutting the brake lines, but fast in a way that makes it still appear like an accident.”
“Oh, you won the tennis shoes!” Elissa is still mesmerised by the computer screen.
“Who benefits by Peter Hamilton’s death?” Hector waits at the intersection for the light to change.
“Everyone… take your pick.” Elissa’s looking at the list they’ve started, “Obvious choice, Zania Hamilton. She allegedly stands to inherit the company and the home…”
“That is assuming he doesn’t have a will already filed, then she inherits everything. Who else is on the list?” Hector peers at the road with intense concentration.
“You know he does. His last visit to Odette London was to make his will.” Elissa frowns at the list before shooting Hector a disapproving glance, “You have the wife, son, daughter, Cecil ‘the butler’, the hypothetical lover, Travis ‘the pool boy’ Knight, mechanic, Jenson…” Her lip curls into a sneer as she mentions his name. She plucks her pen from her pocket. “Adding Odette London because she was rude, Kingston Riley at least until we can talk to him and Evangeline…” Elissa’s stomach turns the moment her name passes her lips. She closes her eyes and sighs. “Hector…”
“We’re good, Elissa, just let it go.” Elissa notes his grip on the steering wheel has tightened. She turns to look out of the window watching the houses go by. “Odette London, the lawyer… what could she possibly get out of this?”
“One less lecherous client?” Elissa shrugs a shoulder. “Maybe she was jealous because she wasn’t one of his lovers… or maybe she was and she found out about the other and…” She glances quickly with wide eyes at Hector when the car comes to an abrupt stop.
“What about that Travis, pool boy.” Hector glares straight ahead of him as they sit at the stop sign.
“What?” Elissa asks noting his reluctant to continue. “What did he say?”
“Nothing, it isn’t what he said. The man has no morals. He dropped his trunks right in front of me…” He glances at Elissa. “No, don’t ask.”
“Aw come on, you have tell me.” Elissa laughs, “You can’t say something like that without at least telling me if he’s a true red head.”
“I didn’t look.” Hector curses himself as he blushes. “Yes, he’s a natural red-head but don’t ask me more than that, okay?”
“Damn, I should have let you interview Cecil.” Elissa laughs again, shaking her head. “Speaking of the butler…”
“Cecil Jonahs, his last name is Jonahs and he doesn’t exist.” Elisa frowns at his words. Hector shoots her a side glance. “That is what I just got back any way. I have them double checking before we send up red flags.”
“He was telling the truth about the cook. She retired five years ago and passed two years ago. Now get this, the woman owed no money on credit cards or loans, and left a sizable life insurance to Peter Hamilton.” Elissa grins at the look Hector gives her. “Yup, she had no family so she put him as her beneficiary. He got fifty grand.”
“Must be nice.” Hector frowns. “The coroner said something about Hamilton that I never…”
“What?” Elissa is searching his notes again and pauses, “Oh. So, who do you think it was? Cecil or Travis?”
“From the hostility coming from Cecil, I’d say both.” Hector shrugs a shoulder and pulls the car over to the curb. “Peter Hamilton was gay. Damn…”
“I don’t buy that, Hector.” Elissa taps the notepad. “He may have had a male lover, but he had plenty of women, too.”
“That’s true…” Hector ponders his next sentence, “I wonder if Eva knows.” Elissa stares at him biting her lip wondering how to approach things when he interrupts her thoughts. “There’s Kingston Riley.” Hector slips the car into park.